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Luristan double-ear sword

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posted on 2022-08-09, 07:53 authored by Centre for Ancient Cultures MuseumCentre for Ancient Cultures Museum

Long metal sword, possibly from Luristan, with hilt and blade forged in one piece. The double-ear hollow pommel, in crescent shape, at the top of the handle, to prevent the sword slipping from the hand, balance the blade and it is engraved with nervatures in the upper part as a ram’s horn pattern. The narrow grip has a series of lines that would probably have had leather or some other perishable material wrapped around them. This T-hilt sword does not have a guard, just a disc at the end of the guard and, to prevent the hand slipping up the blade a ricasso with two raised segments that embrace the blade. On the blade, the fuller is visible and the almost straight edges are a bit damaged especially in the weak section. The central ridge connects to a blunt point. Peculiarity of this type of swords, the blade is at 90 degrees to hilt. Luristan bronze comes from the province of Lorestan, the modern South-Western Iran. Due to the nomadic nature of the tribes settled in that area, none of the Luristan arms were of great size, since it was required for them to be light and portable. They were commonly used in everyday life and in funerary contexts.

Object number: 127.004.

Date: 9th–8th century B.C.

Parallels: very similar examples with Luristan as findspot Istanbul, Rezan Has Museum (inv. unknown), London, British Museum 123304; compare with 1856,1226.619, 1975,0518; Oxford, Ashmolean Museum AN1966.554.

References: Walters, H. B., Catalogue of the Bronzes in the British Museum. Greek, Roman & Etruscan, BMP, London, 1899; very similar sword Moorey, P. R. S., Catalogue of the Persian Bronzes in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 1971, Fig 16. no. 63; Muscarella, O. W., “The Background to the Luristan Bronzes,” in J. Curtis, ed., Bronzeworking Centres of Western Asia c. 1000-539BC., London, 1988, pp. 33-44.; Rehder, J. E., “The decorated iron swords from Luristan: their material and manufacture,” Iran 29, 1991, pp. 13-19; to compare Sestieri, A. M. B. and MacNamara, E., Prehistoric Metal Artefacts from Italy (3500-720 BC) in the British Museum, London: BMP, 2007; Prehistorische Bronzefunde IV. 1, pp. 214–237, Bietti Sestieri 1986, ‘Weapons and Tools’, 4, no. 7, and fig. p. 16.

Photo by Steve Morton